Govt extends hybrid rice seed subsidy to 1st quarter

by Othel V. Campos

Manila Standard Today

02 November 2009


http://www.manilast andardtoday. com/insideBusine ss.htm?f= 2009/november/ 2/business3. isx&d=/2009/november/ 2


The government is extending the hybrid rice seed subsidy program until the first quarter of 2010, program director Frisco Malabanan said over the weekend.


“[President Arroyo] extended the subsidy to 2010 to provide assistance to farmers, especially those who lost their crops to the typhoons. The subsidy will still benefit farmers until the dry season,” said Malabanan.


Hybrid rice farmers are given seed subsidies up to P1,200 per hectare.


The Budget Department said President Gloria Arroyo had earmarked about P3.1 billion from the proposed P37.8-billion budgetary allocation of the Agriculture Department in 2010 to the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani Rice Program.


Agriculture plans to use the allocation to facilitate the distribution of 60.8 million kilos of seeds to 860,000 farmer-beneficiarie s, and train 373,290 farmers and extension workers.


The government earlier said it would discontinue the rice subsidy to farmers by the last quarter of 2009 and divert the funds to other agricultural programs.


The Agriculture Department also committed to reduce the certified seeds subsidy by half, or to P600 million.


Rice Watch Action Network, a regional rice group, noted that the government had proposed the allocation of some P750 million for hybrid rice seed subsidy in 2010, up 24 percent from P602 million in 2009.


“But records show that the proposed budget is way too high,” said Rice Watch spokesman Jessica Reyes Cantos.


The government launched the hybrid rice commercialization program in December 2001 to promote the widespread use of hybrid rice seed technology in order to increase farm productivity and income.








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